Just one example of how the government could lose a civil conflict
I keep reading comments from arrogant progressives who delight in the assault on gun rights led by their elected and appointed allies in the recent weeks since a madman gunned down innocent children in a school in Newtown, CT.
They seem to think they can impose any indignity and infringment they want without repercussion, because the President of the United States is one of them, he’s the leader of the nation’s military, and he can therefore win any battle against America’s freedom fighters who might rise up to restore their constitutional rights currently under assault.
They don’t understand asymmetrical warfare in the slightest, much less how it would be waged here. Let me give you just one small example of how a lone wolves or small teams can strike well beyond their size against a near defenseless leviathan.
After the Dot Com bubble burst in the early 2000s, I took a job in upstate New York for a subcontractor of Central Hudson Gas and Electric. I was part of a crew sent out to map electrical transmission line power poles and towers via GPS, check the tower footings for integrity, check the best routes for access, etc.
It meant I rode quads (ATVs) through mountains, swamps, forests, neighborhoods and farms all over southern New York, in winter’s icy chill and blowing snow, and in summer’s melting heat. It was exhausting work, often in beautiful scenery.
We probably averaged 20 miles of line a day, and that over the course of the contract I easily rode a thousand miles. I can tell you stories of flipping quads, sinking quads, going down a mountain without brakes, almost hitting deer at top speed, and parking on the remains of an electrocuted bear, but that isn’t really what I remember most about the job.
No, what I remember most about the job were the days we spent up near the Rondout Reservoir. What I remember in specific was discovering how powerless the government was to protect key utilities.
In a post-9/11 New York, where terrorism was foremost on the minds of many, you simply didn’t mess around near New York City’s water supply, and Roundout was part of that equation.
The thought that we could be viewed as a threat as we rode the hills around the reservoir for several days never crossed our minds, because we were focused on our jobs minding the electrical transmission lines, not the waters flowing nearby.
It wasn’t until late on the second day, where we parked right beside the dam’s offices, that law enforcement caught up to us. Apparently we’d been the on again, off again suspects in a low intensity chase for two days, with the law enforcement agency that was in charge of providing security for the reservoir (NYDNR, maybe?) trying to chase us down, without any luck. They didn’t catch us until we parked the truck beside their HQ on the afternoon of the second day and began unloading our gear right under their windows.
That it took them 14 hours of time “on the run” in the area (30 hours total time) to “catch” us was a little unsettling. Then I started thinking about the much more fragile structures we were working beside routinely.
You see, we’d ridden up to edge of the Danskammer and Roseton power generating stations, and a dozen or more unattended substations during the course of this contract, without being challenged at all.
Substations like the one above could be accessed not just from surface roads, but from access trails under the power lines by people with UTVs, ATVs, and motorcycles.
Just like the residential transformers in your neighborhood, the transformers in substations are cooled with a form of mineral oil. If someone decides to blast a transformer at its base as prepper Bryan Smith did, and the oil drains out, then the transformer either burns out catastrophically, or if the utility is lucky, a software routine notices the problem and shuts the substation (or at least the affected portion) down. The power must then be rerouted through the remaining grid until that transformer can be replaced and any other resulting damage can be repaired.
Were an angry group of disenfranchised citizens to target in a strategic manner the substations leading to a city or geographic area—say, Albany, for example—they could put the area in the dark for as long as it took to bring the substations back online. Were they committed enough, and spread their attacks out over a wide enough area, perhaps mixing in a few tens of dozens of the residential transformers found every few hundred yards along city streets, they could overwhelm the utility companies ability to repair the damage being caused or law enforcement’s ability to stop them. The government could perhaps assign a soldier or cop for every transformer, substation and switch, but they’d run out of men long before they ran out of things they need guarded. Not that the government could even guarantee to actually protect the transformers they were guarding; a residential transformer is a big, stationary target, and the substation transformers and switches and other equipment even bigger targets. Residential transformers are easily “touched” by even a moderately competent deer hunter from hundreds of yards away, perhaps separated by roads, subdivisions, swamps or streams. Substations are a dense area target easily struck from a half-mile or more away.
Meanwhile, the lone wolves and small teams would simply shift to other targets of opportunity left unguarded by an overwhelmed and outmatched government force, of which there are many.
How many days with partial power or no power, how many nights in the dark, would it take before the local economy collapsed in the targeted area? Insurgents could cripple a city, region, or state, without ever firing a bullet at another human being.
Progressives seeking to undermine the Constitution seem to think they hold all the cards. I would warn them that they are not remotely prepared for what will happen if they attempt to cross Constitutional boundaries and natural rights.
It could be a cold, dark winter.